Sesqui! : Greed, Graft, and the Forgotten World's Fair of 1926, Hardback Book

Sesqui! : Greed, Graft, and the Forgotten World's Fair of 1926 Hardback


In 1916, Philadelphia department-store magnate John Wanamaker launched plans for a Sesqui-Centennial International Exposition in 1926.

It would be a magnificent world's fair to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

The "Sesqui" would also transform sooty, industrial Philadelphia into a beautiful Beaux Arts city.However, when the Sesqui opened on May 31, 1926, in the remote, muddy swamps of South Philadelphia, the fair was unfinished, with a few shabbily built and mostly empty structures.

Crowds stayed away in droves: fewer than five million paying customers attended, costing the city millions of dollars.

Philadelphia became a national scandal-a city so corrupt that one political boss could kidnap an entire world's fair.

In his fascinating history Sesqui!, noted historian Thomas Keels situates this ill-fated celebration-a personal boondoggle by the all-powerful Congressman William S.

Vare-against the transformations taking place in America during the 1920s.

Keels provides a comprehensive account of the Sesqui as a meeting ground for cultural changes sweeping the country: women's and African-American rights, anti-Semitism, eugenics, Prohibition, and technological advances.




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